Beijing Quietly Ramps Up Militarization of South China Sea
While the world’s attention over the last several months has been fixated on the North Korean crisis, China’s brazen behavior in the South China Sea has mostly faded from the headlines. But new satellite imagery shows that during that time, Beijing has continued to quietly increase its land reclamation and militarization in these contested waters.
Satellite photos published by Reuters on October 31 show that from November 2015 to October 2017, China made considerable progress in developing installations on Tree Island and the North Reef of the disputed Paracel chain. China, Taiwan and Vietnam all three claim the Paracel Islands as their territory, with some features also claimed by the Philippines and Malaysia.
China is converting these and several of its other artificial islands into naval and air bases to strengthen Beijing’s sovereignty claims over nearly the entire, resource-rich and strategically located South China Sea.
Bonnie Glaser, a China expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said she expects the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (pla) to soon begin relying more on these militarized outposts to assert its dominance in the region. “They’ve built these extensive facilities, and both Chinese civilian and pla experts have always made it clear that when the strategic time is right, they’re going to start using them more fully,” she said. “I think it is a question of when, rather than if, China will start to assert its interests more forcefully in the South China Sea.”
Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has said Beijing’s ongoing land reclamation and militarization of disputed features in this region “should alarm the world” because it means “China is steering the world toward war.” This is largely due to the vast volume of trade flowing through the South China Sea, he said. In the Trumpet’s July 2016 print issue, he wrote:
These militarized islands now function as forward bases for Beijing to challenge seven decades of American naval dominance in the Pacific Rim. This should alarm the world!
Each year, $5.3 trillion of trade passes through the South China Sea. That is roughly one third of the world’s maritime commerce! Since Japan’s defeat in World War ii, America has protected this vital trade route and brought peace to this part of the world. Now the American military is retreating, and other great powers are coming in to fill the vacuum. This is going to dramatically affect trade around the world, and U.S. trade especially.
A trade war often precedes a shooting war. That is what happened just before World War ii—especially so in Asia. …
China is intimidating the nations of Southeast Asia into submission to its will. It is forcing these countries to do what it wants.
Everything is headed in the direction of war.
Mr. Flurry’s article explains that this Chinese activity will soon contribute to the fulfillment of a Bible prophecy saying that modern-day America and Britain will be besieged by China and other revisionist nations. Deuteronomy 28:52 discusses this future besiegement: “And he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fenced walls come down, wherein thou trusted, throughout all thy land: and he shall besiege thee in all thy gates throughout all thy land, which the Lord thy God hath given thee.”
Mr. Flurry says China’s militarization of the South China Sea is one of several areas where onlookers today “can already see this prophecy moving toward its fulfillment.” Such behavior is leading to a time when China and its allies will be able to control one third of the world’s maritime commerce through this vital region, and the U.S. “will find it impossible to import oil and other necessities,” he wrote.
To understand more about China’s land reclamation and militarization, what it means for America and Britain, and why these developments mean “everything is headed in the direction of war,” read Mr. Flurry’s prescient article “China Is Steering the World Toward War.”